Tag Archives: politico

Impersonal expressions

A new debate tonight. Here is a remark from Politico on the last one that almost perfectly captures the post-truth media environment.

It is clear that Biden's substantive high points — and there were several places where he took clear command of the debate on issues ranging from entitlements to taxes — will be partly shadowed by his nonstop succession of incredulous smiles, sneers, taunts and guffaws that were apparently intended to show self-confidence and fighting spirit but struck many viewers as undignified and rude.

"will be partly overshadowed" is needlessly impersonal.  The author might better have written: "Biden won the debate on substance, but I'm annoyed by his facial expressions, so I am going to deduct points from him.  But I'm going to make this a third person passive construction (sorry, I don't know the technical name), so it doesn't look like me who's doing it."

via Charles Pierce